Columbia, SC (WLTX) - In South Carolina, one in five children go without food and the state ranks in the top ten for senior hunger. However, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) aims to change those numbers.

March 12-18th marks CACFP Week. End Child Hunger SC and the Department of Social Services (DSS) make sure the programs help benefit those that need it.

At Benedict College Child Development Center, the preschoolers are getting ready for their afternoon snack.

Peaches and Teddy Grahams are on the menu. The afternoon snack is just one of the three meals provided every day.

"We provide breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack to our children,” says Danielle Cooper, assistant director for the center.

Cooper says the staff make sure the children get well balanced meals throughout the week.

"Which include meat, vegetables, fruit as well as milk."

The center is able to provide three meals a day to their students thanks to the CACFP.

"The Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federal, nutrition assistance program,” says Mary Young, program director with DSS.

The state receives $33 million from the federal government for the program.

During the 2016 program year, the SC CACFP provided:

  • 13,969,027 meals to children in Child Care Centers
  • 3,027,725 meals to children in the At-Risk Afterschool Programs
  • 2,660,407 meals to children in Child Care Homes
  • 36,060 meals to adults in the Adult Day Care centers.

"The program is wonderful because it does so much as far as providing nutritious meals to the participants, educating staff that work in the facilities on nutrition and increasing the amount of physical activity that the participants are receiving while in care," says Young.

The care centers that sign up for the program, get money in return to provide the meals. Cooper's students are some of the millions of children that are reaping the benefits.

"You never know what background a child may be coming from, you don't know what they are receiving at home or what they are receiving over the weekend,” says Cooper. “So, definitely on Monday's we try to make sure that we have something filling for all three meals."

As of January, 1,383 child and adult care facilities are involved in the program.